America's Richest Families Giving Less Charity, Study Finds

11/01/2012 02:27 pm ET | Updated Nov 01, 2012

America’s richest families may be giving less to charity, but they are giving more of their time to causes that need their help, a new study finds.

Last year, 95 percent of households that earned more than $200,000 donated money to at least one charity, according to the 2012 Bank of America Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy. But the amount affluent families gave to charity has fallen 7 percent in the past three years.

The average amount donated by high net worth households dropped to $52,770 last year from $56,621 in 2009.

While the wealthy are forking over less cold, hard cash, they’re making volunteering more of a priority. In 2011, 89 percent of high net worth individuals gave their time to a cause, up 10 percentage points from 2009. Over one-third of these do-gooders volunteered more than 200 hours.

When it came to choosing an organization for donations, wealthy donors said they felt most motivated by “how a gift can make a difference” and were most inclined to give to religious and educational organizations, the study found.

“Satisfaction relates to the perception that these donors have about the outcomes and effects of their charitable activity," the study notes, "while fulfillment relates to the feelings that their activity engenders.”

Click through the slideshow below to see which billionaires have pledged to give half of their fortunes away:

People Donating 1/2 Their Wealth To Charity

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